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Groundbreaking Brings Positive Progress to Tornado Anniversary in Goodman

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GOODMAN, MISSOURI -

Today marks the one year anniversary of the Goodman, Missouri tornado.

On April 4th, 2017, homes around the town  were damaged by fallen trees and high winds.  And some from flying debris including school desks and chairs. That's because the twister destroyed the Goodman elementary school. But today the anniversary becomes a time for celebration with a ground breaking.

School board members and Neosho school district officials turned dirt drawing cheers and applause from students and a crowd of Goodman residents. Superintendent Dan Decker said of the anniversary and  groundbreaking,"I think it’s a time where a day was a dismal day and now it’s a day of celebration.  And so, for us as a district, it’s just  amazing just to get started."
 Started on rebuilding after the tornado April 4th, 2017 left the school in pieces. Principal Samantha Hamilton said with tears in her eyes, “Being on this property brings back a ton of different emotions,  and being back here with the kids was a different kind of emotions,  I wasn’t  expecting. But it’s been an overall positive day and a  day to move forward and do what’s best for these kids."

For fourth grade student Raven Blizzard memories are painful. She said,  "Last year was heartbreaking. And my Aunt’s house got took down by the tornado too."
Blizzard  looks forward to  coming   back  to Goodman from the Neosho middle school where Goodman has taken over the old seventh grade wing.
Blizzard said,  "It was fun but I really  missed the Goodman school." 

The principal credits kids with helping adults through the struggles.
Hamilton explained,   "One of the kiddos came in and he said  it's still you guys! It’s gonna be fine."

School officials said the  key to keeping kids positive the past year was keeping them together.  They will continue to be until construction is complete in July of 2019.  It will be  a forty-five thousand square foot school that includes added  room to grow.

 
 For the Duncan family the groundbreaking is  hope for a continued family  tradition. Alumnus Cora Duncan said, "I  went here. My father went here and  great uncle went here. One, two, three, we’re the fourth  generation here.  In  Goodman, this is where our kids will go.   This is where they’re raised. It’s  our hometown."
Michelle Epperson’s husband attended Goodman school, as did her kids and she hopes her grand kids can as well.  She said it’s about community. "We have kids that are out lying. We just think it brings them together.  They come here. Our kids play ball here. It’s just important to have your  own home school in your hometown."

Each class of students  got to take part in a photo at the groundbreaking site. And  a teacher said it’s a very important day for the community.   
Jennifer Lewis said, "Because the school is the heart of Goodman. Everything  revolves around the school and when we were gone, it’s  almost like there’s  a missing  piece. And now that we're able to come back, we're just completely excited. "

    
The new school will cost ten point seven million dollars to build.The superintendent says the district could possibly get more money in code upgrades.. FEMA did not approve a community safe room but the school will include a storm shelter for students and staff.

Students helped kick of the groundbreaking event with a song.

Click here for a link to their performance.

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